The 5 Main Benefits of Working Remotely
The debate about office vs remote working may be nothing new, but it has never had more urgency. Here are five of the most compelling arguments in its favour.
The benefits of working remotely have never been clearer, thanks to the sheer range of apps and mobile tech available. In fact, such benefits have given an urgency to the debate about the benefits of working remotely versus going to an office. However, the conversation is nothing new.
As long ago as the 1960s, TV shows such as the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World pitched us a world where people could work from home, taking the business world’s pulse through a home computer terminal linked to “a giant brain 10 miles away in the heart of London”.
Decades on from that broadcast, the debate about the benefits of working remotely and its drawbacks is ongoing. Meanwhile, remote working has become a fact of life. In the middle of this decade in the US, 33m people were working remotely for at least half of the time that they work. And between 2005 and 2012 the number of remote and stay-at-home workers increased by a whopping 79.7 percent.
In the UK during Q1 of 2014, home workers made up 13.9 percent of the UK workforce. The British Trade Unions Congress, quoting Labour Force Surveys, and the Work-Life Balance Survey of 2013, insisted that a further 1.8m people wanted to join them.
In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the United Kingdom’s home working population increased from 3.4m to 4.2m.
A Connect Solutions Remote Collaborative Worker Survey of 353 US respondents, conducted in December 2014, found “significant benefits” for remote workers and employers, with off-site employees working harder and more efficiently “to protect both the personal and professional benefits of working remotely”.
What are the benefits of working remotely, then? There are 5 main arguments in its favour.
1. A Win-Win Situation
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Jason Fried, CEO of BaseCamp, knows a thing or two about the benefits of working remotely. His company’s main product, Basecamp, wrote the book for remote working, and then he himself wrote one book Remote: Office Not Required, and, with his Basecamp counterpart, David Heinemeier Hansson, another, REWORK. His philosophy is simple: talented people don’t live in one place, the modern office is an “interruption faction”, and remote working allows the most talented people to produce the best work, regardless of location. Fried was named among the world’s top 35 innovators in the 2006 MIT Technology Review.
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2. Improved Productivity
Improved productivity must rank as one of the most tangible benefits of remote working. More than three-quarters of all those who work remotely at least a few times a month estimate that their productivity increases while working off-site.
The 2014 Connect Solutions survey found that 30 percent were accomplishing more in less time, and 24 percent completing more in the same length of time.
Twenty-three percent of those surveyed were willing to work longer hours than they would onsite, and 52 percent less likely to take time off, even when sick.
3. Financial Benefits of Remote Working
A large number of remote workers—almost a third in the Connect Solutions survey—report savings of over US$5,000 annually from working remotely.
Again, this is one of the benefits of remote working that transfers tangibly into benefits for the companies concerned.
Half of the remote workers surveyed declared that the option to work remotely at least some of the time makes them much more likely to stay with the company.
4. Personal & Life Benefits
An enhanced quality of life seems to be significant benefit of remote working. Forty-five percent of remote workers surveyed in the Connect Solutions research said they got more sleep; 35 percent were getting more physical exercise; and 42 percent were eating healthier.
Interestingly, the survey also found that 42 percent of remote workers felt just as connected with colleagues as if they were working in the office… while 10 percent felt even more connected.
The survey found that remote workers felt empowered by technology to conduct their work on mobile devices either at home or in a number of other non-traditional working locations such as cafés or parks.
Forty percent of those surveyed were able to conduct at least half of their workload on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.